The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Lagos Business School (LBS) on the Competitiveness Project, reiterating that the willingness of the State to be open shows clearly that all darkroom economists saying all manner of things about the State’s economy are wrong.
The Lagos Competitiveness Project is a collaboration of efforts between the Lagos State Government and the LBS to carry out competitiveness studies across 10 crucial sectors in which the state can have comparative advantage.
The Governor, who spoke at the Conference Room of the Lagos House, Ikeja added that the partnership with the LBS on the competitiveness project shows clearly that any issue that is a matter of debate can actually be put under a microscope and analysed just as it is obtainable in many parts of the world.
He explained that the Competitiveness Project dimensions how readily the present government is to subject its processes to an independent team of academics, professionals and business people and to share knowledge and experience with them while also benefitting from the human capital that clearly exists.
Governor Fashola stated that the relationship that great cities like London and New York have with their business schools and Universities are a matter of common knowledge, stressing that the Memorandum is one that should have come a lot earlier than it has.
“But it is consistent with some of the things that I have advocated that the Town and Gown must shake hands. We must implement policies that are consistent with the experience of people out there and the people must also acquire knowledge and skills that are useful for government to discharge its responsibilities,” Fashola said.
Governor Fashola said the end of the negotiation and signing of Memorandum of Understanding signals the beginning of a journey of cooperation and it is a journey that he looks forward to because it is a journey of common sense, mutual benefit and necessity.
While expressing delight at the milestone, the Governor said there is a lot of work to be done going forward and that Lagos Business School will find in Lagos State Government a very willing, necessary and cooperative partner.
The Dean of the Lagos Business School, Enase Okonedo said the objective is to see how the LBS can make Lagos an attractive place not only for businesses but also for business persons who will come to Africa and take advantage of the potential which has been out there for a couple of years.
She said the project is a collaboration of efforts between the Lagos State Government and the LBS to carry out studies across 10 crucial sectors in which the state can have comparative advantage, adding that such sectors would be identified and studied in depth in addition to case studies whereby cases will be written to examine and document the successes and challenges of the State Government in the process of building Africa’s model mega city.
Ms Okonedo said the objective of the Lagos Business School was to see how it could primarily contribute to the development of the Lagos State Government because the Lagos Business School is not only located in the State but also shares a common name with her and has observed the excellent work that is being done by the Governor and his team over the last couple of years.
She added that the institution has also been sharing in the Governor’s aspiration to make Lagos Africa’s model mega city just as LBS also has an aspiration to become Africa’s leading business school.
“We are therefore looking at Lagos and looking at ways in which we can work with the State and contribute from our expertise into making this a reality and one of the ways we thought that we could do that was to try, and in various ways, study the competitiveness of Lagos”.
“Now, we have all been witnesses and have read about Africa rising and how attractive it has become to businesses all over the world. When we talk about Africa rising, the question remains as to where the investments are going to be located within Africa, Nigeria and indeed Lagos which has the largest markets. If you look at it on a head to head basis, Lagos will compete with several other cities like Cairo in Egypt and others that are being mooted like Nairobi and Accra”, Dr Okonedo explained.
Earlier while giving an insight into the Memorandum of Understanding, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ade Ipaiye said Lagos has always shown in several ways that it is intent on pursuing its policy of achieving a model mega city just as it is aware that it has the potential of reaching the goal.
He added that part of the goal listed was for the State to benchmark itself against fellow states not only within the Nigerian Federation alone but also against some of the best around the world.
“This process requires that we consistently review what we are doing, Study the best practices across the world and identify areas in which we have room for improvement with a view to ensuring that in all aspects of our governmental activities, we are among the best in the world”, he said.
He added that the Lagos Business School was a well-known institutions that is also keen to participate in what Lagos State is doing towards the improvement of not just governance but also living standards within the State and has therefore come up with the Lagos City Competitiveness programme,.
The Attorney General explained that the programme will involve the institution giving of its expertise in cooperation with Lagos State to carry out certain activities which will include holding competitiveness studies whereby the ten crucial sectors in which Lagos can have comparative advantage will be identified and studied in depth.
According to him, “There will also be case studies whereby cases will be written to examine and document the successes and challenges of the State Government in the process of building Africa’s model mega city”.
“We will have stakeholders’ engagements and the LBS will partner with the State to drive business and government engagements in order to sustain and build the atmosphere of partnership and fruitful stakeholders’ interaction. We will also have development initiatives involving collaboration with various government stakeholders to study and drive competitiveness through pre-arranged and targeted initiatives”, the Attorney General said.